With open spaces dwindling at a phenomenal pace, Futsal, a scaled down indoor version of football, is becoming immensely popular among urban Nepalis
PICS: BIKRAM RAI
It’s 7 at night, almost dinner time. But your friends are begging you to join them for a round of futsal. No, futsal isn’t a new brand of beer. Derived from the Portuguese word ‘Futebol de Salão’ meaning ‘hall football’, futsal is a scaled down, indoor version of football. Played between two teams of five players for 40 minutes on an artificial glass turf, the game is so popular in Kathmandu today that there are now nine centres across town.
Just two years ago there was only one arena at the Godavari Alumnae Association (GAA) in Thamel. Started by brothers Nawang Nima Lama and Tsering Norbu Lama, the centre recently celebrated its second anniversary last month. And despite the growing competition GAA is still the most popular ground. “When I was living in Bangkok, I really loved playing futsal and I thought it would be the perfect game to introduce in Kathmandu,” says Nima.
With open spaces dwindling at a phenomenal pace in Kathmandu Valley, children today no longer have places to play or meet with friends in the neighbourhood. futsal is gradually filling in this gap. Pranay Singh, 18, is a regular at GAA and admits he is addicted to the game, “Once you play futsal, you don’t want to play any other sports,” he says.
Since it’s not as rough as its cousin and can be played on a small ground with a small group of friends, futsal is immensely well loved by young and old. “It’s perfect for the kids, they can meet their friends and get much needed exercise,” says Pinky Rai, who takes her daughters to play futsal every Saturday. Schools, colleges, businesses, and organisations are now putting together teams and battling it out in tournaments.
Most facilities charge between Rs 1500-2000 per hour with weekends and rush hours (early mornings and late evenings) slightly more expensive and crowded. So what are you waiting for? Jump aboard the futsal mania and start bending it like popular Brazilian star Fãlcao.
The Futsal Arena, GAA Hall
Thamel, (01)4433515, 9851046836
X-cel Recreational Centre
The Futsal Factory
Prismatic Futsal and Recreational Centre
Anta Grass Recreational Centre
Sherpa Futsal Centre
Mahankal, Boudha, (01)4481937